Anscombe on the Sources of Normativity

Journal of Value Inquiry 51 (1):141-163 (2017)
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Anscombe is usually seen as a critic of “Modern Moral Philosophy.” I attempt a systematic reconstruction and a defense of Anscombe’s positive theory. Anscombe’s metaethics is a hybrid of social constructivism and Aristotelian naturalism. Her three main claims are the following: (1) We cannot trace all duties back to one moral principle; there is more than one source of normativity. (2) Whether I have a certain duty will often be determined by the social practices of my community. For instance, duties imposed by other people’s rights are socially constructed. (3) Whether something constitutes a good, however, will often be determined by human nature—which is not socially constructed.

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Katharina Nieswandt
Concordia University

Citations of this work

What Is Conventionalism about Moral Rights and Duties?Katharina Nieswandt - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (1):15-28.
Aristotelian Necessity.Candace Vogler - 2020 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 87:101-110.
Promises.Allen Habib - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Agency’s Constitutive Normativity: An Elucidation.Federica Berdini - 2019 - Journal of Value Inquiry 53 (4):487-512.

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References found in this work

Two concepts of rules.John Rawls - 1955 - Philosophical Review 64 (1):3-32.
Promises and practices.Thomas Scanlon - 1990 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 19 (3):199-226.
Expressivism, Yes! Relativism, No!Terry Horgan & Mark Timmons - 2006 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 1:73-98.
The Collapse of Virtue Ethics.Brad Hooker - 2002 - Utilitas 14 (1):22.

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